xux THE EARLY ABBASID PERIOD 63 and it may have been due to his cruelty that a rebellion broke out in Syria and. Mesopotamia, where large armies still supported the Omayyad cause. Basra, too, defied the Khorasan troops of the Hashimite general, and had there been a master-mind to give unity to these efforts it might have gone hard with the house of Abbas; but none such was to be found, Ibn Hobayra clung to Wasit at a time when his army might have saved the Omayyad cause in Syria, and he Was induced to capitulate. The Khorasan veterans at length captured Basra, and although in Khorasan and other outlying provinces risings occurred, the Abbasid dynasty was before long firmly established.' The treachery and ingratitude of Abul Abbas were displayed in the assassination of Abu Salma, who was waylaid when returning from a feast given in his honour by the Caliph. Shortly afterwards Abul Abbas himself died of small-pox. The five years of his reign had been marked by massacres, treachery, perjury, and ingratitude on a scale unprecedented in the annals of Islam, Abu Jafar^ Mansur^ A.H. 136-158 (754-775).—Abu Jafar, who succeeded to the Caliphate and assumed the title of Mansur or Victorious, was faced with a serious rebellion headed by his uncle Abdulla, the Conqueror of Merwan. Abu Muslim was sent to oppose him, and the Pretender in desperation butchered 17,000 Khorasan troops whom he knew he could not trust. Abu Muslim in the end succeeded, and Abdulla was taken prisoner and placed in custody at Basra. The Execution of Abu Muslim^ A.H, 137 (754).—Just as Abul Abbas had planned the assassination of Abu Salma, so the ungrateful Mansur determined to kill the too-powerful Abu Muslim. The latter, suspecting treachery, asked one of his friends how he thought he stood with the Caliph. The friend replied in a parable* " A lion had his foot pierced by a thorn, so that it was unable to move; and a simple-minded, well-meaning man, seeing its weakness and hearing its moaning) took pity on it, approached it, and drew rorth the thorn from its foot. Thereupon the lion slew the man; c for,' it said.